SCS President receives Dr. honoris causa

Professor André Merbach, president of the Swiss Chemical Society, receives the doctor honoris causa 2003 from the University of Geneva. "In recognition of the quality of his research, of his efforts for Swiss and European chemistry, and of his support for the department of chemistry, the Faculty of Science of the University of Geneva is happy to award the title of doctor honoris causa to André Merbach, full professor at EPF-Lausanne". On June 5, Jacques Weber, dean of the Science Faculty of the University of Geneva and professor for computational chemistry, confered with this words the honorary title of doctor honoris causa to André Merbach. André Merbach did his undergraduate studies in chemistry at EPF-Lausanne, his Ph.D. at the University of Lausanne in 1964, at the age of 24 (!), and went then for a post-doctoral year to the Lawrence Radiation Laboratory at the University of California in Berkeley. Having returned to Lausanne he quickly went through the ranks becoming full professor of the University of Lausanne in 1973. Since 2001 he is member of the Science Department of EPF-Lausanne. André Merbach's research concentrated in the field of mechanistic co-ordination chemistry. As Kurt Wüthrich, his Swiss colleague during his postdoctoral stay at Berkeley, André Merbach chose as principal tool for his investigations nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, which proved to be an excellent choice. The name of André Merbach's laboratory is closely associated with the development of NMR-measurements under high pressure. The fundamental contributions of his group to the studies of ligand exchange were used as starting point for many developments especially in catalysis. André Merbach's name is closely connected with recent developments of contrast reagents for the application in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The results of his laboratory have been published in more than three hundred publications in national and international journals. André Merbach played a significant role in Swiss and European chemistry. He was member of the research council of the Swiss National Science Foundation during 12 years. He was particularly active in the setting-up of the COST programme in chemistry, serving as chair of the technical committee between 1998 and 2000. He was and is an active supporter of the "3e Cycle de Chimie" especially in the field of physical and inorganic chemistry. He has been instrumental for setting-up the centre of competence for high field NMR in the French speaking part of Switzerland. Having served many years in the committee of the "old" Swiss Chemical Society, he has accepted to become president of the Swiss Chemical Society in 2001. The Society owes him a lot for his clear analysis of the situation, his guidance in difficult times and his know-how during this period of changes. André, in the name of the Swiss Chemical Society I express my sincere congratulations for this highly merited honorary doctorate.